‘Israel wants summit to resume peace talks’
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‘Israel wants summit to resume peace talks’

Palestinian official says Abbas would welcome top-level meeting with Israel, US and Jordan leaders, but demands Israel first meet ‘its commitments’

From left to right: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US President Barack Obama and PA President Mahmoud Abbas during a trilateral meeting in New York, September 22, 2009 (Avi Ohayon/GPO/Flash90)
From left to right: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US President Barack Obama and PA President Mahmoud Abbas during a trilateral meeting in New York, September 22, 2009 (Avi Ohayon/GPO/Flash90)

An unnamed senior Palestinian official said that Israel has proposed holding a four-way summit to relaunch peace talks with the Palestinians, Chinese news agency Xinhua reported Saturday.

The report said the idea is that the high-level summit be attended by US President Barack Obama and Jordan’s King Abdullah as well as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Abbas reportedly welcomed the proposal, but demanded that Israel first “implement its commitments.”

According to the report, US Secretary of State John Kerry briefed Abbas about the Israeli proposal during their meeting in Turkey last week.

The Palestinians, in response, reiterated to Kerry their preconditions that Israel halt settlement building in the Palestinian territories and east Jerusalem, recognize the principle of the two-state solution based on the 1967 lines, and release prisoners from Israeli jails.

The Israeli proposal was made almost one month after Obama’s visit to Israel and the West Bank, and amid a renewed push by Kerry to try to resume the peace talks which have been stalled for the past three years.

Ahead of Obama’s visit, it was widely speculated that the president would use the trip to host a leadership summit and announce a resumption of peace negotiations, but the gaps between the sides derailed that idea. Israel wants to restart talks without preconditions, a position endorsed by Obama during his visit.

Prime Minister’s Office spokesman Mark Regev on Saturday declined to comment on the specifics of the report, as did chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.

“The Palestinian stance is clear that the international efforts to resume the peace talks are welcomed but need an Israeli commitment to halt settlement and recognize the borders of the Palestinian state,” said Erekat.

During a meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah at the White House on Friday, Obama said that the US and Jordan see eye to eye on there being a “window of opportunity” during which a peaceful settlement between Israelis and Palestinians can take place — an agreement that would make Israel secure and enable it to normalize its relations with its neighbors, and also establish a sovereign Palestinian state.

Abdullah echoed Obama’s sentiments by stating that Jordan would continue to work closely with both the Israelis and Palestinians to try to secure a peace deal.

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